Original Content Lonely Souls

MyNameMeansBentNose

Well-known member
Writer
#1
Something new. I heard "Mr. Fear" by Siames and it brought together a bunch of fragments rattling around in my head to help me write this story.

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Lonely Souls
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Zless’s head came up, her antenna twitching back and forth.

For a moment she had felt… lost. Alone at the deepest point of a void black pit. She hadn’t entirely known what to expect, but such a deeper misery than what already existed within her wasn’t on the list.

Looking back and forth, she couldn’t see just what had so strongly drawn her attention, what had pulled so powerfully at her hearts. Her antennae continued to twitch, testing the air for movement or scents. There was nothing of course. It was an enclosed cell in an active patrol cruiser. There were no ghosts here.

Were there?

Zless stood up, her wings fluttering as she did so. She paced the length of the cell, then moved to the portal to look into the void. The cell was somewhere lower on the ship. She could see a large portion of hull below, but the bulk of what she could see was above. Her glimpse of it beforehand was not unlike a pistol with its handle and barrel. It was a bit of a luxury to have a cell at the edge of the ship, although that did mark her as unimportant. Certain races, like her own, were easier to imprison separately of course.

A wave of that bottomless darkness hit her again and she felt her legs buckle. Her orange forelimb caught the edge of the portal, preventing her from hitting the floor entirely.

Who in this ship was it? Who had such a terrible psychic imprint? Her hands went to her hearts, beating rapidly in counterpoint within her chest. Was it their natural mental state? Or had something… of course something had happened. It was inevitable aboard this patrol cruiser.

Those self important Kotry and their Platinum Empire patrolled and constantly pushed at their borders, picking at easy targets and pushing their supposed authority upon all who happened to be in the way.

Just like her ship, her friends, her… her family.

“Oh Mother,” Zless whispered to herself as she gazed into the portal to see her own appearance looking back. Deep red eyes gazed back from the round wedge of her head, the feathered antennae still flicking back and forth where they stuck out of her fluff. Not that she could scent or feel any movement in this strictly regulated room. It was impressive that she could feel the rogue imprint as well. If the protections were that loose, perhaps she could feel for her family? They surely hadn’t… there must be someone left from their merchant vessel.

Another shockwave hit her, causing her to stumble backwards. Such force! What were the Kotry doing? Having felt it three distinct times, Zlek considered what to do. It had hit her three times, and all of those had been deeply unsettling, but…

It called…

-Hello?- she called back. -Who is there?-

-?!?!?-

The darkness shut itself away, as if it had never existed. Zless looked at her hand, the thumb and two fingers shivering badly in the aftershocks of the mental backlash.

They were in danger! Caught in the moment she quickly whipped around to face the cell door.

Her small abdomen twitched as she gathered herself. Regulating her breathing, Zless pushed her hands forward as a focus, attempting to push at the door. A proper adept wouldn’t need their hands, but she was no proper adept. Waves of force carried through the air, but only rebounded backwards throwing her against the wall behind her. The physical defenses were holding. Did they not rebound against mental defenses?

A wave of fatigue hit her. She had overexerted herself. Tired and sore after her effort and suddenly in possession of herself, Zless could only fall to the floor. The fear had shut itself away when she’d touched it, but even in that brief moment before it had swallowed her up!

-...Hello,- she called again, barely even conscious of doing so.

Indeed, that was the last fragment of consciousness within her for several hours.

-----​

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Initiating second jump”

It was all so real, so much more vivid and powerful. It was a feeling she had experienced many times before, as if she was leaping forwards and being left behind at the same time. Existing in two places while reality had to be convinced the ship was suddenly somewhere it hadn’t been a moment ago. But here and now, it felt novel, brand new all over again.

She was used to the experience of a FTL jump. Experiencing a nano second while crossing vast distances was the backbone of galactic civilization. But first one had to create a connection.

This moment was always the most terrifying. While you were frozen in place, the rest of the galaxy lived in real time. To initiate an FTL jump was to exist as a line drawing itself across space. With the right technology, one could observe and interrupt that line. Everyone within? They remained frozen until that line was complete… or interrupted.

“...And we’re here, good job team.”

“Wait… what’s that?”

“An alien ship!”

“We didn’t come out at the right spot! I think they jammed us!”

It was at this point that Zless realized it wasn’t her dream. It was a memory, and it was so vivid. She could hear the voices of ‘her’ friends as they went through their routines. It was only when everything went wrong that she recognized the smooth console before her wasn’t anything she was used to. That the window staring into the void was clear, untinted, the wrong shape. That the hands she was using were soft, not hard, and had the wrong number of digits.

A communication arrived over the speakers of the alien ship. The mind she was peeking into didn’t recognize the words.

“@E$! ^$#%@! ^%#$”

“What the hell was that?”

“No fuckin’ clue, but they sound angry!”

Zless knew those words. She had heard it only a day ago.

“Surrender or be Destroyed.”

No matter the choice, these words had heralded the end of her old life.

“This is the QTS Enterprise of the United Federation of Earth-”

A distinct clang echoed through the hull.

“They’ve grabbed us!”

“What why- are they hostile?”

The sound of grinding could be heard next.

“They’re cutting through the hull!”

“That’s it, they’re hostile then.”

“We can’t be sure of-”

“They interrupted our path and said exactly one thing. When we tried to talk they captured the ship and are cutting their way in. We have our orders, let’s do it.”

A ripping sound and the sudden gust of moving air. The a hissing sound announced the closing of doors and the air ceased moving.

“...I… Oh Sherry, I’m so sorry. I’m doing it.”

“Fuckin- The system is on the fritz!”

“They’re messing with it somehow? What the fuck!”

“... Can’t even do that much. We’re just fucked.”

For several moments silence between the crew reigned.

“Erik, Seth, it’s been good serving with you.”

“You too Rob.”

The dreamer she was witnessing wasn’t the same person asking for… for Sherry, but she could feel the dreamers own terrible despair. Just like her, he understood, nothing would be the same.

She couldn’t help herself. Zless reached out.

-?!?!?-

The connection snapped closed, throwing her mentally out of its space with such power that she work up completely, all at once.

“Ssshah!” Zless shouted involuntarily as she convulsed on the floor. That had hurt.

She reached for it, but couldn’t find the place again. For a second time that mind had shut itself off. It was close, and yet felt so far away… she’d looked closer this time. Trying to get a sense of it. Parts of that dream still vividly existed within her own memory.

They’d spoken to each other, those creatures, which was normal. What wasn't normal was the lack of what was familiar to her. There wasn’t a hint of mental manipulation. They used nothing but their hands, they spoke only with words. There were no mechanisms for remote kinetics, energy pulses or auto mental orders.

Were they not psychic- no, whoever it was, they were intensely powerful, that couldn’t be possible.

A soft ping announced the arrival of her food. She turned her head to see a ration ball roll from a chute. Bland and unappetizing, but with everything a common sapient would need to survive. And her mental exertions, although involuntary, had exhausted her. She scuttled over to the ball and picked it up. She turned it around until she found the nub. She bit through the nub easily with her tooth plate and tipped her head backwards to pour the water within down her mouth.

Tasteless as expected, but exactly what she needed to replenish her mental strength. When the ball was empty she went to eating the shell.

She’d only just woken up, but she quickly fell asleep again.

-----​

The touch was soft, barely even noticeable. And yet there was a force of effort behind that touch that was remarkable. The sleeping mind of Zless felt that caress and she came slowly awake. Perhaps that was the only reason it worked as well as it did.

She gingerly accepted that touch and found herself flooded with ghostly sensation.

It mirrored her own in many ways. Cold, lonely, uncomfortable and hungry… more than that, hopeless and forlorn as well, taken from what they had known before. But… all of it was several shades brighter. She came awake.

She tried a third time.

-Hello?-

-!?- came the questioning response. -!- it sent again, an affirmation of contact.

The mind, the person, did they have no means of psychic communication? It was infantile in the way they’d responded.

-I am Zless,- she replied. -Who are you?-

-!- then a pause. The mind, the male mind tried to answer her, -****-

And again -S***-

And again -**....-

He was trying, she could feel the intense effort, but every attempt to send back to her was a failure almost from the moment it started.

-You have never done this?- She asked, although her tone suggested more. -You have never had the means?-

-~- It sent, still on the edge of incomprehensible, but there was the feeling of confirmation.

-We are prisoners,- She volunteered, deciding to make use of this odd connection. -The Kotry have captured us. They war with us as they expand their territory. I am afraid you found yourself exploring at the wrong time.-

-~.....-

-I, You…. I’ve never seen something quite like you… you don’t use telepathy often do you…-

-~- Another tone of assent.

-There is a method… A way to talk closer…- Zless took a deep breath, gathering her strength. -If you allow me to join your mind, we can talk directly…-

-...-

-I can understand if you don’t want to. You have no idea what I am, or even if I’m a friend… I can only ask you to-

-~- the note of assent arrived, interrupting the rest of her little speech. He was willing to give her a chance. Strangely, she couldn't feel a hint of uncertainty.

Zless reached out to touch him, following the imprint of his messages. She knew without a doubt she would never have found him with her own power. She reached and found a smooth shell, with no pits or imperfections. It was a solid barrier that would allow nothing. She knew this was him, she knew it, but… she was looking at the wrong spot?

-^- it called.

Her attention shifted, she ran her senses across the barrier. -Where?- Zless asked.

-...^- it called again.

She found it this time. A small gap in the barrier, a desperately maintained hole as if hands were furiously clearing away a constantly filling pit of sand.

Zless reached in. Her world expanded.

-----​

How many Humans lived within their heads just screaming. Yelling and searching for anything beyond the barrier of their own mind. Clawing at the unseen walls and wishing there was more there.

Seth Reimers used to be like that. As far as he could tell it was probably a problem for those who were depressed or afflicted with anxiety. Those who were intensely unhappy. Eventually he’d managed to pull himself together. Just in time to finish school properly in fact. He ate better, slept better and found himself a goal. That mostly helped. If he didn't stop moving then he didn't have to dwell on it. For a long time that short period he’d spent screaming at the world in the silence of his own head was just a phase of growing up. Sure it would flirt with him from time to time. He hadn't chosen the easiest path, but Seth had kept that darkness behind a powerfully sealed door.

Instead of entertaining this self pitying darkness, he would go to space. And to do that, he would put everything he had into it.

And he had done it! Decades of effort and training and the support of proud parents and friends helped him reach the top percentile of potential test pilots. Humans had been out and about in the solar system for a good while, but he had earned the chance to go yet further.

The Quantum Tunnel Shuttle was a resounding success on the first true life test. They’d zipped out to Proxima Centauri, their closest celestial neighbour. They hadn’t found anyone there. It was a dead system with a collection of lifeless rocks and gas giants. Great for potential resources of course.

The second jump hadn’t gone so well. That odd gun shaped ship had stopped them, shouted at them and then torn their way into the ship to capture themselves some humans.

He had been aboard this foreign ship for about ten days. They had locked him inside a featureless grey box with a pit in the corner, a chute that dropped some bland ration ball, and the barest hint of a door outline. It had taken him six days to resume clawing at the edges of his own mind. On the seventh they jumped, just like the Quantum tunnel him and his fellow pilots had been trying out. To where he couldn't know. He was plagued by questions.

Where were Erik and Rob? What had happened to the little Enterprise. Did the aliens get into the drives? Or perhaps they were able to trace the tunnel back home? Would Sol be okay? And those aliens! They’d been telekinetic! The three of them had been captured with little more than waves of the aliens… paws. The aliens were kinda like small bears, but without any fur. Instead they were all scales and spines with four slitted eyes instead of two.

Ten days in he’d decided he was going mad. That was when the voice spoke to him. It was utterly alien. He hadn’t understood what it was saying, but the message lanced into his head and scared him practically out of his skin.

The second time it had reached for him was at the end of a dream. But it wasn’t a dream, it was a nightmare, and a memory. He’d been reliving the moment they’d realized the dream of exploration was over. The touch reached through his mind, again a feeling unlike anything before. Reflexively, Seth had recoiled from the touch, wishing it gone.

It was only later that he realized the touch was just that, a touch. And even more… he felt like it belonged.

Remembering that touch, and remembering where it had come from, because he knew. Seth reached out… and found nothing.

But it wasn’t a dream, he knew it! So he reached again, pushing at the edges of his mind, forcing himself to believe, to know that there was something to touch that wasn’t just the darkness of his failed imagination. Just like he had been doing for the last couple days.

And then it responded, clear as day.

It said ‘Hello’. No, it said -Hello-. There was no difference, yet there was an incredible difference. Her touch was soft this time, and he knew without doubt that it was a she…

Utterly alien, and yet comfortably familiar. It wasn’t a mind that he knew, but it was clearly a mind. He knew without a doubt that she was friendly. He was so sure it scared him, but not enough to stop. Not this time.

With an effort akin to screaming himself hoarse, he tried to talk to her again. She knew he was trying, but it seemed as if she didn’t have to spend any effort at all! It was unfair!

Until he accepted her offer, accepted her grasp.

That darkness he’d pushed at for so long cracked. Like the initial herald crunch of a glacier in spring, it cracked. And then it fell away.

-Zless, hello,- Seth finally spoke.

-Seth! You…!- She was in awe.

And so was he. He could see her. A rounded wedge of a head covered in fuzz that seemed much like hair, a pair of long feathered antennae rose from above her red almond shaped eyes. Her torso was triangular and thin, she had wide hips with a pair of legs, although her long digitigrade legs split into two separate feet each. She had a tail… no, not a tail. An insects abdomen and a pair of crystalline wings. Her body wasn’t covered in skin like his, but instead with a soft orange shell with outlines of black.

She could see all of him, past the clothes. He knew that to her he was effectively naked, and he barely cared. She certainly didn't care much that she wasn't wearing a thing. She shifted a uncomfortably when the thought came up. The Kotry had stripped her similar to how they had stripped him down to small clothes.

But he could see more than just her body. Her mind was frightened and lonely, but underneath that there was a warmth, a seeking hopefulness. A playful desire to see and talk and joke. A shy nervousness, but a desire to be teased. And a very new rapt attention for him. Her mind could see into his and her attention was that of stunned admiration. She could see into the crevices of his own head and it felt… right. He could see all of her, including the warmth that generated in her chest.

-You’re beautiful- Seth said to her.

-!- the comment stunned her.

He reached for her, although not with his hands.

-How?!- she asked in awed startlement.

-What?- he responded, drawing back, completely unaware of what she was asking.

-Please- she begged. -Again, reach for me… but hold on this time.-

He did.

A great rumbling crunch of tearing metal almost broke the connection. It pulled and he almost faltered.

-Don’t let go!- She cried out, and he held on all the tighter.

The connection between them opened further. He could see her move and act. She took her slim arms with their three digits and put them together as if sticking her hands between a pair of barely open doors. She pulled her hands apart and the wall before her ripped apart like tissue paper. As she did so he could hear the crunching of metal once again.

Her emotions were tumbling chaos and confusion. But her mind was clear as crystal. She must reach him. Seth realized he could see the area around her, it wasn’t sight, but the sensation of air, smell and mental imprints. He saw the lizard bear come around the corner. She wasn’t aware of it until he was. Because he saw it, so did she.

The Kotryan bared his teeth and pushed, attempting to smash her to paste with a telekinetic push. Zless turned and pushed back. Her and Seth both were shocked to see the Kotryan smashed into the wall. He’d hit the wall with enough force to break probably most of his bones.

-How are you doing this?- Zless asked.

-I don’t understand,- Seth replied, -what do you mean?-

-I… you… just, don’t let go,- She finally told him.

Seth concentrated on doing just that. He watched the way her antennae moved. The way her wings idly twitched at errant gust of wind when walls were breached. The way her paired feet would join to form a single when she decided to run.

There was more.

Two hearts beat in opposing rhythms. Her antennae flicked back and forth, tasting the air. She gathered strength from the abdomen on her backside like he did from his gut. And his feelings were bleeding into hers. Exhilaration at this new experience. Fascination as this new contact. Admiration for her form as she moved.

A cell ripped open to reveal another like her. A heavier version of herself with armored joints and a deeper brown body and black eyes.

“Zless!” he called out in shocked relief.

“Father!” she called back, the pair of them embracing for a moment.

“What is happening?” he asked her.

“We are going that way” Zless replied, pushing through the next cell wall. The older mothman stared at the damage in stunned surprise. Seth barely noticed.

She was close now.

They found two more… Sheoshay. Another orange female like Zless. Then a young child with a yellow shell. as Zless tore her way through the ship… they weren’t far now… but Seth was tiring out. She grabbed and pulled at another wall and this time he felt the pull.

It was him? It was him! She was doing it, but she couldn’t do it without his connection. In reality all of this was her power, he was just riding shotgun… except she was surprised by her own power?

Another wall ripped away, but it was harder this time. She had less to pull on.

-Zless… take it easier, you’re tiring me out.-

-I hear you Seth.-

She pulled at the next wall with more care this time and the pull was less. The sound was also much closer yet.

Then the soldiers arrived. A squad of eight Krotyans were waiting on the side of the next wall. As Zless pushed her way through, they pushed back, throwing spikes of condensed power at the small group. The other female went down. Zless’s father threw up his arms to block the attacks with a barely sufficient wall of force. Or at least, the attacks aiming for the child. He took an attack in the chest that spun him around and threw him to the ground. The small child remained safe for the moment.

Zless had only barely raised her own defense in time. A strike to her head and another to her left heart were blocked. They holed her right wing and clipped her leg.

Seth saw red, a hot anger suddenly burning in his belly. Adrenaline spiked through his system as he felt the pain of the wound on her leg.

How dare they!?

Zless turned and waved a hand, throwing the group of Krotians against the wall with chilling ease. Her anger mirrored his own. They would learn better than to attack her family!

Her father picked himself up, holding a hand over a seeping wound in his chest. The wound closed up and ceased bleeding. There was still a tear in his body, but he was likely holding it closed telekinetically.

Zless crouched to check the other female. “Oh Suuza, I’m sorry.”

The female was gone.

Seth’s anger changed from hot to cold. He held on tight.

-I feel you Seth,- she responded to his anger.

Then he heard something else. This time, he understood the words. A distant part of him realized it was thanks to the link with Zless.

The door of his cell opened up to reveal a trio of the aliens who had captured them. The lizard bears stepped in. They were wearing jumpsuits, although one was wearing an odd sort of helmet. The cap surrounded the creatures head with a plate covering the center of his snout.

“The signal is from you primitive, I will have you remove your influence!”

“What are you talking about?” Seth lied. “Augh!”

The leader with the odd helmet had waved a paw. It had thrown Seth against the wall with enough force to crack his head and make him see stars. He was also pretty sure he’d cracked a rib on impact. Pain racked his body and Seth coughed painfully. The Krotyan was still pushing. Seth rose further up the wall and his vision started to go dark. He could feel his bones creaking and a snap confirmed his damaged rib.

But he didn’t let go.

-Seth!-

-You were so close…-

The force ceased and Seth fell to the floor. Two bodies flew past him and smashed into the wall.

“Cough, cough, hacckhh,” Seth hacked up spots of blood as he coughed. He looked up to see little Zless with her hands in the air and the Krotian with the helmet compressed against the ceiling. She waved a hand and the body flew sideways into the corridor and out of sight. There was a distinct crunch when it landed. She rushed to Seth and crouched down.

He felt his broken rib shift, causing him to tense up, rigid with barely controlled pain. The rib ceased moving. She had repaired it somehow! There was still soft tissue damage but breathing was easier now.

-I made it!- She spoke with glee and tenderness while her antennae brushed his cheeks.

-You did, you saved me.-

-And you’ll save us all.-

He reached up and grabbed her hand. It was like supple, luxurious leather. And then the sensations arrived.

His-her large-small hand was warm-cool to the touch.

And just like that they were complete.

-----​

It wasn’t a sexual joining, there was nothing in this that hinted of physical desire to Zless. Nor did Seth feel any rise in his libido. They couldn't tell who'd thought of it first really. Although now that the idea came up, they both found themselves wondering at mechanics and compatibilities, to their shared embarrassment…

A simple lesson, keeping secrets would be very difficult like this.

But it was a completeness that Seth had certainly never known. It wasn’t merely physical. It was beyond anything he’d ever realized he’d wanted. She was into everything. Everywhere she looked only encouraged feelings of awe and curiosity within her. Seth could no longer imagine a life without Zless.

Zless had experienced conversations similar to this all her life, but it was all a pale imitation of what Seth shared now. The Human had a terrifying depth. She could see into his memories, and in those gaps between furious activity was a dark emptiness of a lonely mind unable to surpass its own boundaries. This connection was the greatest unexpressed desire and he had thrown everything into it once he’d been given what he considered an unimaginable gift. Even if it was only for the moment, she was the absolute center of Seth’s world. Zless could no longer imagine a life without Seth.

And while he was unable to personally express any sort of power, that didn’t mean Seth wasn’t psychic. Seth had a seemingly bottomless well of untapped power. He just couldn’t use it. He couldn’t use it, but Zless could. He was like her own psychic catalyst, and with his hand in hers they tore through the patrol cruiser. The pair of them couldn’t only imagine what it might be like if other Shaoshay and Humans could form such a link...

They found Erik. They found Rob. The prisoner cells were scattered across a small selection of levels and the Kotry had spread them as far apart as physically possible, forcing Zless to open up slanted tunnels to traverse upwards.

Hand in hand, she could keep a careful eye on Seth's stamina. Hand in hand, his sharing of power was far better, far more efficient, far faster.

And as they shared they came to understand. His fundamental understanding of mass and momentum elevated the power of her telekinesis. His technical knowledge needed to pilot and if need be, fix his shuttle was levels above hers, allowing her to access an ability she had the potential, but not the training to use. He wasn't the one giving her the huge boost of power, but he was letting her steal from a massive power supply he understood was made for this purpose.

He took it a step further again, his talents letting Zless outright demolish the defenses and locks that were supposed to only allow authorized users from 'tapping in’ to the 'psion generator’.

And he came to realize, when she had asked 'how are you doing that?’ it was because his own instinctive unconscious was suddenly not his but theirs. He had begun supplying her with all the training he'd built up the moment her mind touched his.

A grin lit up on his face and he could feel her wings buzzing with the shared excitement.

‘I'm a goddamn force multiplier,’ Seth thought to themselves. Zless didn't need to reply. In her mind was assent and appreciation for an experience that had never occurred to her as possible.

They found only a few other Sheoshay during the rampage. Zless knew most of her old crew was dead. She'd been one of the last captured. The memory almost halted their march. When her wings began to tremble and her legs had lost their strength Seth had swept her small form into his arms.

“It's okay,” he spoke. -It’s okay- he sent at the same time. His verbal and mental voices overlapping. Seth's warmth and solid grip only reinforced the message. When she felt the double beat of her hearts settle Seth let her back down. Seth shared a hidden smile with Zless when she was struck with the urge to climb back into his arms.

Still, they did find Zless’s captain, Zeernoa. With her help the destruction of ship facilities gained a directed touch. The first to go was the communication pod. Then one of the primary weapons platforms. This was when Zless’s control almost slipped. The kotry crew was attempting to wrest away her control of the psion generator. They wouldn't be able to just clear the ship, they might not even escape if she slipped much further.

None of the rest of the Sheoshay were able to form a link with Rob or Erik on the spot, but with the telekinetic support the Humans were impressively strong in melee combat. They rolled through the Kotry ship with brutal ease.

“Don't you guys have guns?” Rob eventually asked.

Erik wasn't saying much. He had a haggard look on his face and Seth expected the kotry had given Erik all their attention.

Rob and Erik didn't have the means to understand the new allies. So Seth answered the question. “Anything strong enough to pierce their telekinesis is also gonna go through the hull. And they have telekinesis.”

“Welp, can't argue with that,” Rob admitted.

“Maybe later though,” Erik supplemented, his tone dark.

Zless shivered when hints of Seth's weapons knowledge drifted to the forefront of his mind. “Later,” Seth agreed.

They found the Human ship in an upper docking bay. The shuttle was held in the grasp of a large cradle, arms clamped around the body. The torn out section of hull hung from a nearby arm. With a wave of her arm Zless pushed the broken section into place.

“Father?” She asked. He gave a single affirmative flap of his wings. Then the wings went to work seriously as he lifted himself into the air and up to the hole. It was just above a walkway leading to the proper doorway.

Sure that there were no more prisoners to find, they boarded the small vessel, the pair stopped just below her father and Seth felt her, very gingerly, touch her mind to that of her father. The sensation was distant, his name was Zack of all things. With Zack’s guidance she helped telekinetically bind the hull back together. Under Zack's concentration laid a constant sense of awe of what his daughter was doing. When the work was done and everyone inside, she ripped the gantry apart to remove it from the shuttle.

“Where are we going?” Rob asked with fear in his voice as he settled himself in the pilots seat with Erik nearby. Both of Seth's companions were understandably shaken, with Erik much more so. Even so, countless hours spent training carried them through the ship start up sequence with ease. Zless watched them work with confusion but had to concentrate on maintaining her concentration in case the cruiser marshalled its power. The Enterprise systems had gone into sleep without further input at least, they wouldn't need to do a full start up. Seth took his place and Zless didn't hesitate to climb into his lap. She could feel Seth’s relief at being able to interface with the system, but there was more to offer here. He'd felt hints of conversation between Zless and Zeernoa. She reached past him to place a hand on the console.

-Earth?- Seth asked, turning to look at her jewel eye.

-No, to Sheoshan,- she responded. He understood.

“We’ll go here,” Seth said with confidence and fatigue in equal measures. The coordinates input themselves automatically thanks to her touch and his near instinctive understanding of his ship. Once again a wash of confusion spilled from her, although now tinged with stunned respect for his mastery of the controls and the systems those controls gave access to.

“Where the fuck is that?” Rob asked as the route calculation resolved.

-So… so quick!- Zless sent involuntarily.

“Zless’s homeworld,” Seth explained, surprised that Zless was surprised. “If we go straight to our home, they might know where we went… but if there are more like Zless, then Earth is going to have a friend.”

“You okay man?” Erik asked, still uncertain of the aliens who’d helped them to safety. He was carefully not looking at their new allies.

Seth looked at Erik, momentarily unsure of just how to answer that question.

He was complete. Zless had lifted him out of that dark pit, that island within his own head that he had inhabited all his life. Seth could never shake that impression that there was more and now he knew it to be true. With her help he could see… things. Colours that never existed for him before. A new horizon upon an unimagined axis. The comforting embrace of someone who knew all of him and one he understood just as well. They were unexpected soul mates, suddenly inseparable. He wasn’t just okay, this was the literal best fucking day of his life.

“Yeah, I’m pretty okay.”

Rob shrugged his shoulders. “Then let’s go make some friends.”

-----
End
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